Beliefnet
Letting Go with Guy Finley

If one would not so easily bemoved to seek comfort for oneself, but instead choose to accept the effortless discomfort that life sometimes brings, then in these more difficult moments would one be naturally turned to seek his comfort not in the familiar, traditional, and conditional forms — but from the company of God whose simple, but peaceable Presence readily transforms what maybe unwanted into what is no longer worth noticing.

falling leaves, blue sky, bright sunlight

Do we not each go through what we can call the personal “seasons of life” during our lifetime on earth? We have all known, according to our years and experiences, the sweet springtime of youth, the deep summer of fulfillment, the bittersweet fall of letting others do for us what we can no longer do, and the chill of winter? Coming to the close of one’s life is itself but a passing season in an unseen greater one. Do try to see the timeless beauty in all of this change, and you will.

Is any one of us less than a rose, or the single raindrop that – in falling to feed and refresh the flowers – makes it possible for them to open and reveal their rainbow of colors and fragrance for us? The answer should be evident.

We are more than the rose, greater than the solar radiance that stirs her essence to bloom. For neither rose nor sun’s radiance is conscious of the great story they serve as they let go and give themselves up to life.

In truth, we human beings are created unique among all things that take life and then give it back on the stage of life, for we are made to witness this eternal story… and more.

We are not made to have only a relative role in this Great story, to be – as are all other creatures – just a minor, passing actor upon its stage. No, the promise of our potential far outweighs even our ability to imagine it, for we have been created to consciously participate in its timeless telling.

When Abraham Lincoln, the great American president, looked at his country so torn apart by the conflict of racial hatred – born of individuals clinging to ways of life that sorely compromised the soul’s longing for an inclusive love – he said of this world of troubles: “This too shall pass.”

Of what world was he referring to in that moment? Did he speak of a nation at war within and upon itself, that it would pass? Or did he address the state of his weary heart, so heavy with despair over the condition of man, so filled with doubt as to the course he must choose to help change the consciousness of the United States?

Clearly he was referring to all of these conditions, and more. He was saying that these trials, along with their attending troubles, will pass. But how could he know this truth when darkness had spread itself out both before and within him at once?

Lincoln knew, as can we in our battles with unwanted moments, that the events he faced – as awesome as they were – represented only a single page in a far larger story. His eyes could see the truth behind what the world remains blind to: this unending and ever-unfolding Life in which we dwell requires the passage of all the pages that have gone before it.

Letting go, at its heart, is an act of agreement with Life. It is an accord on our part with what the present moment tells us about ourselves as it unfolds before us, asking of us what it does. And what is it that Life is asking of us moment to moment? It’s simple, really:

Life is asking each of us: will you be a witness to my Story? Will you let go of your short-lived moment in the sun of passing circumstances – in order to realize that just behind all such shadows dwells a Life whose Light never fades?

Will you choose in favor of entering into a Life whose story never ends, and in which fear and failure simply do not exist?

And what must we choose so that we can participate in this Greater Story?

We must choose to let go.

Death releases us from the physical conditions manifested by our present nature, but not from the consciousness of this nature and those relationships inherent in its level of being . . .

Butterfly, tree branch

We live in a stream of a living light that never stops pouring down upon us, even as it ceaselessly wells up from within us. The first part of this opening comment is obvious: sunlight streams down moment to moment upon our earth, vitalizing and nourishing all that it touches. And while this order of light allows us to see all the marvelous forms and colors that our physical eyes behold, there is another kind of light that is of a higher order.

In much the same way as sunlight reveals the world around us, this interior light illuminates the worlds within us and more. It is through the revelations that it alone makes possible—as it discloses whatever may be concealed within us—that we find and are nourished by an ever-expansive understanding of who and what we really are. We begin to realize our possibilities in life are as endless as this light that reveals them. Slowly it dawns upon us that standing in this light is the same as realizing the promise of an always new and self-liberating revelation.

For example, when we look out a window, our physical eyes may behold a field of green with a solitary tree that winter claimed three seasons past, now lying prone on the ground. Many small creatures have already moved into its hollows, claiming this place as their own. With a little grace, we may be touched by the beauty of this place and be bathed in the light of its meaning. But something far more beautiful than this simple pastoral scene is playing itself out before our eyes; there a deeper, higher meaning hidden in this moment, trying to teach us something about the truth of ourselves, about our immortal Self, if we will be present to its revelation.

That tree, even as it decays, bleeding its former strength and substance into the ground, isn’t the end of the tree. It’s the end of the form that tree once took. Everything that once constituted its character now becomes part of the grass; everything that’s part of the grass, in turn, becomes part of the soil, and this enriched soil becomes a part of the next tree. The meaning of this revelation is one with its fear-ending fact: death is not the end of life.

Yet, for us, it seems as if our life comes to an untimely end over and over again. We all know that dreaded feeling of oh no … my life is over! Truth be told, this kind of experience is so old and worn out that it is what should have died long ago!

We’ve all died a thousand deaths and yet we’re still here, hoping for life but fearing what we believe to be its partner: the appearance of some unwanted moment attended to by an inevitable sense of loss. This is the great illusion.

Real life serves the living without end. And, without end, it must constantly change itself to do this. But what do we serve when our heart and mind are as barren as a winter’s tree, and all we know to do in those moments is turn on ourselves with a vengeance for not being what we imagine we should be?

For that matter, what do we serve when any relationship that defines us seems to betray us, leaving us alone with a suffering that, to be endured, must be blamed on another?

In these moments we serve a lower level of self that believes its very existence depends upon something outside of itself … so that we are indentured to a level of self that believes it ends when whatever it has identified with changes, as must all things.

No change in life marks the end of the immortal Self that, once again transformed, assumes a new form.